During June and July 2006 the R/V Tangaroa collected high-resolution seismic profiles, EM 300 swath bathymetry, 3.5 sub-bottom, as well as water column echosounder data across Porangahau Ridge east of the North Island. Piston cores were recovered for pore water chemistry, microbiology, and paleoceanographic analyses. We also acquired heatflow data, CTDs, and seawater samples for water-column chemistry. The seismic data show amplitude anomalies beneath the ridge. The anomalies develop along a prominent N-S fault-propagation anticline. We analyzed reflection coefficients and conclude that the anomalies are most likely caused by free gas within the regional gas hydrate stability field as defined by the depth of bottom simulating reflections. We suggest that local warming associated with fluid expulsion through faults keeps the temperature at the anomalies outside of the gas hydrate stability field. Based on the seismic amplitudes, we predict at least ~7% of the pore space to be saturated with gas if gas is evenly distributed. Gas saturation is predicted to be almost 70% for "patchy'' gas distribution. For the pressure-temperature conditions beneath the ridge, gas at a saturation of 7% would form gas hydrate at a saturation of ~10% of pore space. Should the localized heat flow anomaly weaken, e.g., because of sealing of the faults, the ridge could become an area with significant hydrate deposits. We speculate that the Porangahau Ridge constitutes a gas hydrate "sweet spot" in the process of formation. Pore water chemistry shows a shoaling of the base of the sulfate reduction zone across this feature, indicative of elevated methane flux through the hydrate stability field. There is a distinct thermal anomaly across the Porangahau Ridge, albeit with a complex signature. On the other hand, there are no indications of methane expulsion into the water column, neither in the echosounder records nor in the water chemistry profiles from CTDs.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- 3004 Gas and hydrate systems;
- 3025 Marine seismics (0935;
- 3060 Subduction zone processes (1031;